Salt Lake City Restaurants

The 2002 Winter Olympics cast Salt Lake City in a new, contemporary, more diverse light. Visitors discovered a panoply of cultural influences, brewpubs, ethnic flavors, and progressive chefs. Salt Lake City may not have the depth of restaurants seen in other big cities, but there are a couple of outstanding choices for nearly every budget and cuisine. Restaurants like Lamb’s Grill Café, Hire’s Big H, and Ruth’s Diner trace their roots back five-plus decades, and their colorful proprietors are more than willing to share the history they’ve witnessed from their kitchens. Returning LDS missionaries have brought back their favorite flavors from Asia, Europe, and Latin America, with impressive results. You may not find the five-star San Francisco dining experience, but you’ll find almost as many influences as in the city by the bay. Seafood, Japanese, Tibetan, Indian, Spanish, and Italian are all suitably showcased in Salt Lake eateries, and when all else fails, there are great burgers and Rocky Mountain cuisine, a fusion inspired by frontier big game, seafood fresh from the great Pacific ports, and organic produce grown in Utah’s fertile valleys. You'll also find creative wine lists and knowledgeable service. Bakers and pastry chefs defy the 4,400-foot altitude with rustic sourdoughs and luscious berry-filled treats. Multiple weekly summer farmers' markets are thriving, and chefs are building more and more of a food community. All in all, Salt Lake's culinary scene has finally grown up and offers something for every taste, from simple to sophisticated.

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  • 1. Copper Onion

    $$$ | Downtown | American

    Adjacent to Salt Lake's arthouse cinema is the best new restaurant in the city in the past decade. Chef Ryan Lowder dazzles with the basics...Read More

  • 2. Hire's Big H

    $ | East Side | Burger

    Roll down the car window and place your order at a burger joint that offers a menu, service, and groove that haven't changed much since its...Read More

  • 3. Layla Grill and Mezze

    $$ | Cottonwood | Mediterranean

    Venture a few miles from downtown to find the Tadros family's Mediterranean restaurant that has debuted with savory dishes in a crisp, contemporary...Read More

  • 4. Log Haven

    $$$ | Millcreek Canyon | American

    This elegant mountain retreat was put on the map with inventive takes on American cuisine laced with everything from Asian ingredients to pure...Read More

  • 5. Lucky 13 Bar and Grill

    $ | Downtown | Burger

    There is no better place in the valley to order up an elaborate monstrous house-made burger and wash it down with a beer and a shot of whiskey...Read More

  • 6. Red Iguana

    $$ | Downtown | Mexican

    One of America's best Mexican restaurants, this lively place doesn't look like much, and it's off the beaten track. But everyone in Salt Lake...Read More

  • 7. Tony Caputo's Market and Deli

    $ | Downtown | Italian

    The people who line up out the door at lunch hour are usually salivating in anticipation of a generous, authentic deli sandwich at this stocked...Read More

  • 8. Bambara

    $$$$ | Downtown | American

    Seasonal menus reflect regional American and international influences at this artfully designed destination restaurant. A tasty example is the...Read More

  • 9. Bombay House

    $$ | East Side | Indian

    You're enveloped in exotic aromas the minute you step into this dark, intimate restaurant that shares a massive parking lot with a Walmart....Read More

  • 10. Café Trio Downtown

    $$ | East Side | Italian

    Start with a selection of cheeses and flatbreads to tempt your appetite, but save room for balsamic-drizzled pizzas, hearty baked pastas, and...Read More

  • 11. Cucina Deli

    $ | The Avenues | Italian

    Locals flock to this neighborhood café and take-away food market for the creative salads and colorful entrées displayed like jewels in glass...Read More

  • 12. Desert Edge Brewery

    $ | East Side | American

    For more than 40 years, this lively microbrewery inside Trolley Square has offered delicious pub food, house-made beer, loft seating, a sheltered...Read More

  • 13. Em's

    $$ | Capitol Hill | Eclectic

    Fresh, flavorful, creative, and artsy—chef Emily Gassmann's small café combines it all in a renovated brick storefront in the Marmalade District...Read More

  • 14. Este Pizzeria SLC

    $$ | Downtown | Pizza

    You may recognize the lettered circles resembling the New York City subway before you inhale the scent of fresh-baked pies: either will take...Read More

  • 15. Forage

    $$$$ | East Side | American

    With 15 courses on the nightly set menu and a dinner tab that approaches $100/person, this is not your ordinary dining experience—and about...Read More

  • 16. Fresco Italian Cafe

    $$$ | East Side | Italian

    This intimate restaurant sits back from the street in a clapboard house that adjoins an independent bookstore. Dishes like the daily risotto...Read More

  • 17. Hong Kong Tea House

    $ | Downtown | Chinese

    Lacquered wood-and-marble tables, comfortable chairs, and warm colors give the three small dining rooms a welcoming feel. At lunch, ask for...Read More

  • 18. Ichiban

    $$$ | Downtown | Japanese

    This is one of the most interesting dining destinations in town. It's set in a former church, complete with exquisite stained-glass windows...Read More

  • 19. La-Cai Noodle House

    $ | Downtown | Vietnamese

    Named for a historic restaurant district in Ho Chi Minh City, this place re-creates the cuisine of southern Vietnam. Despite its unassuming...Read More

  • 20. Lamb's Grill Café

    $$ | Downtown | Mediterranean

    Founded by Greek immigrant George Lamb in 1919, this downtown power-broker's favorite has demonstrated unusual staying power. With its long...Read More

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